We have moved beyond the hype of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). IT departments no longer view the technology with scepticism or questions. It is now understood that HCI is a building block for flexibility and scalability.
With the comfort level in HCI growing, the use case for the technology is also starting to come of age. The irony of early HCI adoption was that it was implemented for point solutions such as virtual desktop implementations. However, the real benefits from HCI come from using it as a platform for next generation software-defined data centres. The tremendous benefits from HCI cannot be materialised from single point solutions.
HCI technology itself is evolving; The rigid building block approach of first generation HCI was an obstacle to wider adoption. NetApp entered the HCI space with a next generation approach, giving more flexibility to how companies can expand compute and storage as they scale out their HCI infrastructures. This evolution means that companies can now use HCI as a foundation technology as they shape out their next generation data centre journey.
It is important to note that without planning, HCI may not be the nirvana that data centre managers are hoping for. Building any data centre platform requires proper planning. Designing a well thought through strategy for your approach to HCI is imperative if you are expecting this technology to be a core of your data centre evolution.
The key is in creating an effective hyperconverged strategy (HCS) comprising of a few proven elements within the infrastructure that will help the IT department better manage their systems based on their specific needs.
The first step to properly provisioning your hyperconverged strategy (HCS) is to evaluate and conclude what simplicity and flexibility actually mean to your organisation. Once that is done, you will understand how they will impact your agility, headcount, service catalogue offerings or environmental footprint.
Next is looking at the simplicity aspect. This doesn’t just mean simplicity in configuration or operations. Simplicity here looks at the full lifecycle that includes:
Upgrades to components for technological advantage (e.g., power consumption)
Transparent software management enhancements
Automated diagnosis and repair
Another important step is to look at flexibility. While being flexible does often imply commodity parts or SKUs, or scaling in order to accommodate a use case, it can also mean breaking down silos and ‘blending’ with whatever infrastructure that was running the business through interoperability, offloading and tiering or even to linearly scale.
Other important aspects to look at include selectivity, perspective and economic factors. Selectivity looks at software automation and management; hypervisor selection; centralised and distributed IT services management. Perspective is about meticulous component selection, integration and tuning, at both hardware and system software levels, while economic focuses on the potential total cost of ownership and operational cost savings of appliances, with relatively limited scalability. By purposefully incorporating these into your hyperconverged systems, you will be able to extract the full potential of the hyperconverged infrastructure and not just be tagging along for the hype.
NetApp has taken years of data centre and data management experience and loaded that into their approach to HCI. They recognised the value in the technology and have pushed the boundaries – creating a next generation approach to HCI. This approach enables flexibility in how enterprises can develop their own HCI strategy.
For more information on how to improve your HCI experience, click here.